Keeping Up To Date

Researchers need to keep up-to-date with the literature of their subject and be aware of recent developments in their field. Here are some ideas.

Search alerts

Search alerts inform you when new articles are published which are relevant to your research.

  1. Register/log into your account on the database
  2. Create a search and refine it
  3. Save your search strategy and ask to be alerted

You can set up lots of alerts for different facets of your research. Just about every library database allows you to set up search alerts, as does Google Scholar.

Cited article alerts

Scopus, Web of Science and Google Scholar allow you to set up Cited article alerts. This is a good way of finding new material and new authors in your field.

  1. Identify a document which is important to you, such as key theoretical and methodological papers in your field, or publications by major scholars in your area
  2. You will be notified when someone cites the article

Contents pages from journals

Table of Contents (TOCs) services alert you when the next issue of a journal appears. Some publishers will also tell you when a new article is accepted.

We recommend:

New book alerts

In many subjects, knowing about new books is particularly important. Many publishers and booksellers offer email alerts.

Academic publishers, eg

Specialist bookshops eg

Union catalogues eg


Conferences are an important way of disseminating cutting-edge information. See our conferences guide for more information.

Theses and dissertations

Theses and dissertations are expected to contain new information, but they are not included in most databases, such as Web of Science or PubMed. Often the key material will have been published as a book or articles, but sometimes authors don’t disseminate their work in this way.

Patent alerts

Services which will keep you up-to-date with new patents:

See our patents guide for more information.

Current newspapers

The Library provides a number of current newspapers online.

Mailing lists

Online discussion lists and mailing lists help you keep in touch with people across the world who are interested in your subject.

  • JISCMail heavily used in English-speaking academia
  • CataList, the official Listserv catalogue of email discussion lists

Social media

Social networks can be very useful for keeping up to date with discussions, news and publications.

Academic social networks

These networks notify you when other users bookmark and upload papers, or start discussions in your chosen interest areas.


Twitter allows you to follow interesting accounts from people or organisations and receive a constant stream of news, links, ideas and opinion shared by other users.

To make sense of the deluge of information, you can:

  • Save keyword searches and hashtags
  • Create and subscribe to lists of accounts related to a particular area of study

Social bookmarking and reference managers

These services allow users to share bibliographies or online bookmarks, and follow other users and topics. Some examples:

  • Mendeley (requires software installation)
  • Zotero (requires software installation)